Sports organisations with an ‘authentic and legitimate commitment’ to sustainability can attract new fans and deepen relationships with existing fans, says Brian McCullough.
The Meeting of the Parties 24 (COP24) concluded this past December with a renewed energy to fulfil the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement and outlined specific ways to achieve those objectives. Most encouragingly was the openness of the UNFCCC to engage specific business sectors, including the sport sector, in the global effort to reduce the effects of climate change.
I was honoured to participate in the initial meetings with the UNFCCC Secretariat and other sport sector and sustainability experts to discuss the parameters of a climate action agreement specific to the sport sector. This work continued up to COP24 in Poland, where the Sport for Climate Action Framework was announced with the initial signatories.
The work done on behalf of all those individuals involved was inspiring. The various opinions and desire to appeal to the broad sport sector from international organisations like FIFA and the IOC, to community or recreational sports organisations, was challenging. The broad perspectives and backgrounds of the individuals in the room provided such a rich and broad assessment of the needed aspects of the Framework to engage the entire sport sector.
Undoubtedly the driving force of motivation for all those involved was a realisation that climate change is real and threatens the way that humanity will consume and participate in sport in the future.
Much like the resulting documents from COP24, the Sport for Climate Action Framework outlines specific actions that sport practitioners can take to contribute to the global effort of the Paris Climate Agreement. Not only does the Framework outline what has been practically demonstrated to work, but it also supports the necessity to base these initiatives and processes on data-driven decisions and transparency.